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Does political risk deter FDI inflow? An analytical approach using panel data and factor analysis

Gour Gobinda Goswami (Department of Economics, North South University, Daka, Bangladesh)
Samai Haider (Department of Economics, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 4 March 2014




In today's increasingly globalized world, foreign direct investment (FDI) is a hotbed for discussion. Numerous studies have been undertaken regarding FDI, its determinants and benefits, but very few works provide importance to the effect of political risk on the inflow of FDI. Some papers introduce institutional or governance issues in determining FDI inflow, but a comprehensive framework in this respect is non-existent. With this end in view, the authors take 146 countries worldwide over a period of 1984-2009 and then classify countries as OECD or non-OECD members to see whether there is any difference in the nature of the effect. The study keeps other possible determinants of FDI – market size, growth rate of real GDP, trade openness, infrastructural facilities as control variables while considering the effect of underlying political risk factors in deterring the FDI.


This paper looks at the effect of political risk on FDI by using a systematic approach of factor analysis, in reducing the number of variables into their underlying factors and then generating factor scores. Then it uses a panel regression approach combined with factor analysis to examine which particular aspect of political risk contributes more towards deterring FDI inflow.


The empirical results of this study refute the conventional notion that government failure is the primary contributing factor for poor FDI inflow. Rather, cultural conflict and the attitude of the partner country towards the host country are found to be mostly responsible for deterring FDI inflow. The result holds significantly even after controlling for traditional determinants regardless of whether it is an OECD member country or not.

Practical implications

It is not just governance failure but the cultural factors and development partners' attitude about the country which mostly determines FDI inflow.


This is the first paper which combines the factor analysis in a panel regression framework to examine the impact of political risk on FDI inflow.



JEL classification – C33, F21, O50 This paper has been prepared with the financial support provided by International Finance Corporation (IFC) under a research grant titled Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund (BICF). Valuable comments and suggestions from Dr Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee, the Editor of the journal and an anonymous referee, Dr Enamul Haque, Dr Sajjad Zahir, Dr Fouzul Kabir Khan, and Dr Zahid Hosain on an earlier draft are greatly acknowledged. However, the authors are solely responsible for errors if there are any.


Gobinda Goswami, G. and Haider, S. (2014), "Does political risk deter FDI inflow? An analytical approach using panel data and factor analysis", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 233-252.



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